Archive for the ‘presuppositions’ Tag

Challenging My Presuppositions   Leave a comment

Ever have one of those nights when someone you care a great deal about challenges your spiritual presuppositions?

Yeah. So this person accused me of not knowing what the Bible says and not actually believing God. She’s one of those who believes that the voice of her own self-will is far more wise than the words of the Bible. The only words of the Bible she accepts are the ones Jesus said. There’s nothing right in the Old Testament and mostly nothing right in the New Testament. It’s all just mean old men writing things she disagrees with.

Since I care about this person a lot, I’m still trying to stop crying. I love her so much and she has hurt me so deeply, but more …

I am grieving because there are a handful of people that I really want to spend eternity with and I thought she would be one of them.

And maybe she’s just an arrogant young lady who will change her mind as she mellows and reacquaint herself with the Holy Spirit some time down the road. Her Christian walk does not have to look like my walk, but — DAMN IT! — it has to look like God’s definition of Christianity. She has accepted syncretism as the pathway to God and that leads out into a muskeg from which it is incredibly hard to escape.

When my presuppositions are challenged, I go to the Source. And, because I have this blog, I get to share my mental meanderings with those willing to read them.

Just a head’s up — I’m still sort of on the “in the world, not of it” line, but I’m about to launch out into a Bible study or two. Maybe while I’m at it, I’ll talk about how that applies to today.

Posted January 30, 2016 by aurorawatcherak in Christianity

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A Message to Non-Believers   1 comment

Before you get into a lather about how I “don’t understand” you, let me explain something.

I used to be you! I was raised in a non-Christian household in the very secular state of Alaska. I think my family went to church three times while I was growing up — once for a funeral, once for a wedding, and once because Easter fell on my dad’s mom’s birthday and he wanted to honor her memory … or something like that. My parents were not atheists. More like agnostic-edging-toward-deist-not-interested-in-god-ruining-their-fun American “Christians”. They didn’t give God much thought and neither did I until fog grounded a bush plane in the Alaska wilderness and the only choices for reading materials were the Bible (in German), Zane Grey novels and Francis Schaeffer’s The God Who Is ThereI really hated westerns and I can’t read German, so ….

I read the book in two days and I was challenged to question the presuppositions I’d been raised with. I wasn’t hostile toward God; I just never really thought much about metaphysics. I was a cultural “christian” in that I (sort of) knew the Christmas and Easter stories, but I largely accepted without examination that Jesus was at best a great man who lived a long time ago and at worst was a myth. Because I lived in a very secular state, I didn’t know any faithful Christians personally and the few that I had met turned me off because they seemed really fake to me. I grew up with an old joke about Christians as my basic impression:

“I’m perfect. I don’t drink, smoke or swear. God loves me! Dammit, I left my cigarettes on the bar next to my empty beer.”

Funny, but it turned out not to be true!

Francis Schaeffer’s book gave me pause because he explained why belief is a more reasonable response to the world than nonbelief. But it only gave me pause. I was still skeptical and for the next 16 months, I investigated the evidence for Christianity’s claims. By maintaining an open mind and by treating those faithful Christians who came into my life with respect rather than derision, I eventually came to a place where enough of my objections were answered satisfactorily to where I had to admit that the only thing standing between me and knowing if Christianity’s claims were true was my own unbelief.

I could choose to go on not believing or I could lay aside my objections for a moment and let God show me why belief was the most reasonable response to the world. It took 16 months to get to that point, so it was not a “leap of faith”. I had thoroughly investigated the subject before I accepted salvation.

During those 16 months I learned some things.

  • Christians are human beings who are not perfect. And most of them don’t claim to be.
  • Faithful Christians are generally consistent in what they believe from the Bible, but they struggle to reconcile their faith with their culture, which sometimes leads to perceived inconsistencies.
  • The Bible is surprisingly consistent with itself, but misconceptions abound among both believers and nonbelievers, with the nonbelievers holding the greater share of them.
  • American “cultural christianity” is mostly unfamiliar with the actual teachings of the Bible.
  • The Bible and science do not (contrary to popular belief) disagree about the world. Science properly cannot make any claims to understanding the metaphysical claims of the Bible and the Bible is a book of faith and history, not science. Those claiming that science has proven there is no God (or gods) are mistaken in their claims because they try to make science authoritative outside of the observation of the physical universe, which is its proper field of research.
  • Archaeology has so far been supportive of the Bible’s claims

Because I am not a true believer in science — and never was — I can see theories for what they are — someone’s opinion about the collected evidence. Materialistic scientism arrives at one theory about the origins of the universe and life on the planet by viewing the evidence through the lens of certain presuppositions. Intelligent design (it wasn’t called that in the 1970s, but it was around) has another theory also based on their examination of the evidence colored by their own presuppositions. There are extremes of both groups of theorists who try to take the evidence where it cannot go. Not being a true believer in materialism, I could have faith in God and still respect science for what it does well – collect evidence.

Archaeology hasn’t proven the Bible, but it has not found substantial evidence against the Biblical claims. The same summer I read Schaeffer’s book, I read an article in a magazine about how the Bible was crap because, among other things, Nineveh had never existed. Archaeologists had been looking for it for a century without success, so the writer insisted the Bible was lying about Jonah and, therefore the whole Bible was in question. I believed that claim without examination all during my investigative period. Within days of deciding to let God show me that my objections were misapplied, archaeologists announced that Nineveh had been found.  They’d been looking in the wrong places for a really long time and someone more or less stumbled upon it where they weren’t actually looking. Coincidence? Maybe, but it added evidence to the mountain that I was now scaling. Contrary to popular belief at the time, archaeology was actually confirming many of the claims of the Bible.

I came to the Bible and the claims of Christianity as a skeptic, but I had been challenged to approach the subject with an open mind. An open mind demands proof, but not absolute proof. Absolute proof is the province of a closed mind, a mind that is made up and will not be changed even by overwhelming evidence. I did not require overwhelming evidence. I only needed my reasonable questions answered. Essentially, when my collected evidence spoke more for God’s existence and, particularly for the claims of Jesus Christ, than it did against, I set aside my skepticism and let God answer the rest of my objections.

And, He did!

So, yes, I do understand skepticism, but no, I don’t think skeptics are right.

Big Bang Theory   4 comments

One of our early inquiries was the Big Bang Theory, which we returned to in recent years.

The Big Bang theory proposes that the universe started from a singularity – a dense wad of matter that for reasons not yet known suddenly exploded outward in an immense pulse of energy and light. Scientic consensus has pretty much decided that is how the universe we currently live in started.

Of course nobody was there at the time to observe the actual event, so this theory cannot be proven by scientific means. We can evaluate the evidence and say that is probably what happened, but honest scientists admit they could be misinterpreting the evidence or that new evidence could be found that would disprove the theory. Sadly, few scientists today are willing to question scientific consensus, but their lack of open-minded inquiry does not make the theory incorrect.

In fact, I think the Big Bang theory is a reasonable non-believers’ description of how God created the universe.

Genesis 1 says “In the beginning, God …” It goes on to say He spoke light into darkness, formed the stars, the sun and the planets. It synopizes Creation in a few sentences, saying it took six periods of time for God to reach the culmination of His Creation – mankind. I say “period of time” because what is a day to an eternal being when there was no sun to calculate a time period?

Robert Zastrow, founder of the Godard Space Institute (an agnostic) wrote in his book “God and the Astronomers”:

The details differ, but the essential elements of the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same. This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but the theologians. They have always believed the word of the Bible. But we scientists did not expect to find evidence of an abrupt beginning because we have had until recently such extraordinary success in tracing the chain of cause and effect backward in time. At this moment it seems science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance,; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he Is greeted by a band of theologians who have been there for centuries.”

We have two different views of the same evidence. Atheists, who hold a hard line position that there is nothing that exists that they cannot analyze under the rules of science, say the Big Band theory can only be explained by other theories that sound like faith – multiverses, for example. To the Christian, the science arrived at where we had been for centuries. For the honest and maybe agnostic scientist, it’s curious, but not frightening that theologians were essentially right a long time before science got there.

So far, nothing I’ve learned from science has rattled my faith that God is behind it all. I’ve read some great books that really challenged my faith, but I’ve come to realize that the presuppositions of the researcher can affect the outcome of their science and that sometimes it takes centuries before those outcomes are challenged and shown to be wrong.

Science is very good at observing evidence and I appreciate honest scientists who do this so well. It’s when scientists try to torture the evidence to fit their worldview rather than let the evidence speak for itself where I have a problem with scientists.

Posted June 2, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Christianity

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